Is Fostering for Families?
Many rescue groups do not have physical locations and rely solely on foster homes to save lives. In many cases, foster homes literally can make the difference between life and death. When you foster a dog, you are actually saving two lives: The one you are fostering and the spot you opened up in a shelter for another dog to take its place.
Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) is a foster-based group for whom we at Project Blue Collar have been fostering for years. They always need for more fosters, and regrettably, we’ve often heard people state that their families are the reason they can’t foster. They say, “Once my children are older we might think about it.” Conversely, we often hear from those families who DO foster and just how rewarding it is, how much it has taught their children, and how great it has been for the entire family.
In an effort to encourage more families to open their homes to fostering, we wanted to highlight one such foster from SAAP, Anna Allender, to share how rewarding fostering can be for a family.
When did you begin fostering?
I started fostering in November of 2013.
How many fosters has your family had?
We just broke 50 fosters!
Were you worried it wouldn’t be a good decision for your family (child)?
We weren’t much concerned about the impact fostering would have on our family as a whole or on our daughter. She was young enough (6mo) that she could be introduced to and learn the pattern of fostering without much of a struggle.
What have you and your family learned through fostering?
My daughter has learned many amazing things through fostering; she’s gentler, softer and more caring than most children her age. Hailey has learned how to properly care for and love animals of all ages, shapes and sizes and loves caring for our fosters. She’s also blossomed socially from going to meet and greets as well as adoption events.
How do you prepare children for the goodbye?
With Hailey being so young (2 years) there’s not much of a preparation for the adoption. However she does say goodbye to each of our fosters with a hug, kiss and wave if she’s at an event when they find their furever home.
Do you have any advice for people who are considering fostering but want to wait until their children are older?
Teaching a child selflessness, compassion and the value of life is something that can begin at any age. Very young children (0-4yr) tend to not get too attached to the fosters and learn to let go early on. Older kids (5-10) can get attached but with the right guidance understand that what they and their families are doing for the dogs/cats does make an impact on not only the animals lives, but their communities.
The following was taken directly from one of Anna’s posts and we found it so inspirational that we wanted to share it:
“If you’re considering fostering but are hesitant because you have young children— please hear me out. We’ve been fostering dogs and puppies since Hailey was five months old and we whelped our first SAAP litter when she was just under a year. At eighteen months and nearly fifty dogs later she has learned compassion, how to feed and water dogs, how to handle extremely young puppies, how to correct a dog and my all time favorite, she understands what “forever home” means.
Please, I urge you to open your heart and home to animals in need. Your children will benefit exponentially from the experience; our little ones are the next generation of rescue and these animals desperately need a generation full of people who will stand up and defend them.”